Harare -The Southern Lodestar Foundation has partnered South Africa-headquartered sugar producing firm Tongaat-Hulett to donate 60 tonnes of high energy instant porridge to vulnerable children in Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as part of efforts to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview this week, Tongaat Hulette Zimbabwe corporate affairs and communications executive Adelaide Chikunguru said the company was making use of its regional network of to assist in mitigating a looming nutritional crisis.
According to the SADC Secretariat’s 2020 Synthesis Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in Southern Africa, 33,6 million people living in rural areas and 11,1 million in urban areas across the region are food insecure.
This is a 10 percent increase when compared to 2019.
Tongaat’s Chikunguru this week said, “At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Tongaat-Hulett partnered with the KwaZulu-Natal based Southern Lodestar Foundation to donate high energy instant porridge to communities associated with Tongaat Hulett in many of the countries in which it operates.
"Research shows that children with improved nutrition, are able to develop mentally and physically, which boosts their ability to learn and absorb new information, so through the partnership with the Southern Lodestar Foundation, we will be able to make 400,000 meals available to children and individuals that have experienced undue hardship because of the pandemic.
“By supporting these communities and individuals, Tongaat-Hulett is not only addressing the challenge of food insecurity and malnutrition, but also helping to ensure the sustainability of local institutions amid such a crisis. The instant porridge will be distributed to thirty-nine primary schools and four hospitals in Chiredzi.”
Andre Redinger of Southern Lodestar Foundation added: “Our commitment to Tongaat-Hulett is to extend beyond this period to ensure we deliver a sustainable breakfast programme in the countries we are operating in. We have benefitted from Tongaat’s significant support - from logistics; to human resources; to reaching those who need nutritional intervention as a matter of life and death.
“To many of the children in Africa, we pledge nourishment, education, and love so that we can help to uplift; to inspire and to be of service.”
Nkonzo Mhlongo, head of corporate affairs at Tongaat-Hulett Sugar South Africa, said the 60 tonnes of food translated to 1,2 million meals.